Published: Jan. 27, 2023

footprint in the sandCarbon footprint is something we have all heard about, read about and probably talked about in class, but do we truly understand what it means and its role in our lives? Probably not. 

According to the Nature Conservatory, carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses generated by our actions. Every person, company or entity has a carbon footprint. Individuals' carbon footprints can be tracked based on their daily actions and emissions. How you get to work, what you choose to eat, what you purchase in a day and what you recycle or throw away. All of these actions directly contribute to your personal carbon footprint. The larger the footprint, the greater the impact on the planet; but, the size of your carbon footprint can be changed with changes to your lifestyle. 

By calculating your personal footprint, you’ll be able to better understand what changes to make to your lifestyle to reduce your carbon footprint. Making small changes over time can lead to great change. If we all make small changes, we can see a reduction in our carbon footprint. 

A few simple changes that will reduce our carbon footprint include:

  • Eat less meat. Experts say that eating a vegan diet is best for the planet, and reducing the amount of meat you eat -- red meat in particular -- has a positive impact on the planet.
    • Try to eat foods that are low on the food chain, such as nuts, fruits and vegetables.
    • Swapping one or two meals a week to vegan or vegetarian is a great place to start.
  • Reduce food waste. It’s estimated that Americans waste roughly 40% of the food they purchase. Cutting down on food waste will reduce your carbon footprint and help you save money.
    • Planning your meals out ahead of grocery shopping will allow you to buy exactly what you plan to eat, eliminating waste and saving money.
    • Freeze leftovers or produce before they go bad.
  • Turn it off. Turn off lights and appliances when you leave the room to save energy and money.
    • Keep your heat and water heater set to a lower temperature.
    • Use LED lights in all light fixtures in your dorm, apartment or house.
  • Shop sustainably. Purchase from second-hand and thrift stores to reduce your carbon footprint. 
    • Something to keep in mind when you shop for clothes is that as the price of our clothes drop, the costs to us and the world around us increase.